My name is Tommaso Melani. I’m CEO and founder of the company that carries the name of Stefano Bemer, the unmatched Florentine shoemaker. I took over guidance of the brand after his inauspicious passing in 2012 with the support of my family business, Scuola del Cuoio—a company established by my grandfather in 1950 inside the Monastery of Santa Croce, which specializes in the production of handmade leather bags. My idea and strategy is to empower the capacity of production of the bespoke service, create a training program to cultivate the next generation of artisans, and imbue the virtues of the bespoke service into a state of the art ready-to-wear. This is our (developing) story.
Stefano Bemer started his company in 1983 with a goal no less ambitious than creating the perfect Italian shoe. Through his curiosity, he taught himself the infinite variations of shoemaking by first repairing shoes, then attending courses and workshops, and finally mastering his own technique in the way it is recognized and appreciated today. Thanks to Stefano’s commitment, the brand name became closely associated with the highest standard of Italian elegance and quality, and today, is synonymous with both style and refinement.
Although many would say that his story is an example of accomplishment, for us this is just the beginning. It’s no secret that Stefano trained Daniel Day Lewis in the art of shoemaking for ten months in his workshop. What many do not know is what brought them together: perfectionism (in fact, it is Stefano's pursuit of perfection that inspired me to make an offer to continue the brand's legacy). DD Lewis and Stefano shared the same passion for their respective forms of art: one would not simply play a role, but rather “become” his character; the other would not just make shoes, but rather bring his ideas to life. If you have seen the former acting and the latter making shoes, you know what I am talking about. It would have been a loss if Stefano’s large inheritance of designs, styles, original construction techniques, and ideas - as well as the team of extremely talented craftsmen he selected and trained during the last 15 years of his career - would have dispersed or, even worse, merely turned into a commercial venture.
In late September 2012, a few months after Stefano’s passing, I met Cristina, his companion and the associate designer at Stefano Bemer. I explained my vision of training, the finest bespoke shoemaking, unparalleled made-to-order, and perfectly crafted ready-to-wear creations. She believed in it! I then selected an old chapel to house all of our operations. Speaking of sharing a vision, it turned out that Stefano himself tried to find an agreement for the same exact building a few years before. Since then, we have been working towards new achievements while staying true to the original vision of Stefano Bemer.